A Travel Price Comparison for Australia Adelaide vs. Cairns for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Adelaide or Cairns?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Adelaide and Cairns can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Where Should I go: Adelaide or Cairns?

Adelaide

Adelaide is the often overlooked capital city of the State of South Australia. It's also the fifth largest city in the country. Despite being skipped by most travelers, Adelaide is an interesting city to explore and has a decent amount to offer open minded travelers. It has some fascinating architecture, unique shopping, and wonderful cafes and restaurants. Part of the appeal of Adelaide is its location in the midst of Australia's wine regions, including McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, and Clare Valley. Any of these destinations could be visited as a day trip from Adelaide.

Cairns

Most travelers go to Cairns specifically to visit Great Barrier Reef. The city itself is surprisingly large and cosmopolitan with a population of approximately 140,000. The city's economy is almost exclusively based on tourism, although you will find some jobs centered around agriculture, or more specifically sugar cane, bananas, coffee, tea, wine, and some tropical fruits. The city itself is surrounded by rainforest and makes a great base for exploring Kuranda, with the Barron Gorge National Park and the Daintree offering a quieter tropical getaway than Cairns.

Which city is cheaper, Cairns or Adelaide?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Adelaide is $88, while the average daily cost in Cairns is $76. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Adelaide and Cairns in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Adelaide $52
    Cairns $34
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Adelaide $104
    Cairns $68
Compare Hotels in Adelaide and Cairns

Looking for a hotel in Adelaide or Cairns? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Adelaide


Hotels in Cairns


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Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Adelaide $15
    Cairns $9.69
Typical Local Transportation prices in Adelaide

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Adelaide are as follows:


  • Shuttle from the Train Station
    $3.59

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Adelaide

Also for Adelaide, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Transfer in private vehicle from Adelaide Downtown to Adelaide Airport: $61
  • Transfer in private minivan from Adelaide Downtown to Adelaide Airport: $61
  • Private Transfer: Adelaide to Adelaide Airport (ADL): $64
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Adelaide Airport: $40
  • One Day Kangaroo Island Sip & See tour with return ferry transfers from Adelaide: $240
  • Departure Private Transfers: Adelaide to Adelaide Airport ADL in Luxury Van: $99
  • Departure Private Transfers: Adelaide to Adelaide Airport ADL in Business Car: $67
  • Corporate transfers and wine tours: $43
  • AirPort Transfers & People Mover: $169
  • Adelaide Airport Transfers : Adelaide City to Airport ADL in Luxury Van: $99
  • Adelaide Airport Transfers : Adelaide City to Airport ADL in Luxury Car: $121
  • Adelaide Airport Transfers : Adelaide City to Airport ADL in Business Car: $71

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cairns

Also for Cairns, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Premium, private bus transfer. Cairns City - Cairns Airport.: $135
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns City - Cairns Airport: $89
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Trinity Beach: $107
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Port Douglas.: $244
  • Premium Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Palm Cove.: $125
  • Port Douglas Transfers between Cairns Airport & Port Douglas (Private Chauffeur): $118
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns City - Cairns Airport: $62
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport -Trinity Beach.: $71
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Port Douglas.: $171
  • Luxury Van, Private Transfer, Cairns Airport - Palm Cove.: $89
  • From Fitzroy Island Return Catamaran Transfer: $60
  • Express Private Transfer from Cairns Airport to Cairns City: $22

Is it cheaper to fly into Adelaide or Cairns?

Prices for flights to both Cairns and Adelaide change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Adelaide $25
    Cairns $22

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Adelaide

For Adelaide, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • The F Factor: Adelaide food tour: $36
  • Adelaide Central Market The Collaborators Dinner Tour: $154

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cairns

For Cairns, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Guided Twilight Tour of the Aquarium with Dinner: $90
  • Cairns Aquarium by Twilight with 3 Course Dinner: $99
  • Afternoon Tour with Evening Dinner Cruise: $134
  • Small-Group Afternoon Cairns City Tour with Harbour Dinner Cruise: $154

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Adelaide $11
    Cairns $30

Tours and Activities in Adelaide

For Adelaide, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 10-Day Adelaide to Perth Adventure Tour: $1,419
  • 2-Day Kangaroo Island 4WD Small-Group Tour from Adelaide: $990
  • 3 Day Flinders Ranges Outback Tour: $1,772
  • 3 Day Port Lincoln and Coffin Bay Tour: $1,577
  • 3 Day Whale Watching Tour from Adelaide: $1,679
  • 3 Days Flerieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island Motorcycle Tour: $562
  • 3-Day Adelaide to Melbourne Tour Including the Great Ocean Road: $1,221
  • 3-Day Guided Seafood Lovers Tour of Ceduna from Adelaide: $1,814
  • 3-Day Private Adelaide to Melbourne tour: $2,442
  • 3-Day Small-Group Eco-Tour from Southern Yorke Peninsula: $1,102
  • 3-Night Murray River Cruise by Classic Paddle Wheeler PS Murray Princess: $1,095
  • 4 Knots Murray River Cruises offer Morning and Afternoon Tea and Lunch Cruises: $51

Typical Entertainment prices in Cairns

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Cairns's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Scuba Diving
    $36

Tours and Activities in Cairns

For Cairns, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 14-Day Cape York Camping Tour: $2,350
  • 2 Day Reef & Rainforest Adventure: $619
  • 2-Day Cape Tribulation and Daintree Rainforest Tour from Cairns /Port Douglas: $221
  • 2-Day Green Island Cruise and Kuranda Day Trip: $316
  • Aboriginal Cultural Daintree Rainforest Tour from Cairns or Port Douglas: $210
  • Atherton Tablelands Waterfalls and Rainforest Day Tour Departing Cairns: $95
  • Barron Gorge and Kuranda National Park Half Day Rainforest and Waterfall 4WD Tour from Cairns: $124
  • Cairns 4WD Waterfall and Rainforest Tour Including Kuranda Scenic Railway or Skyrail Rainforest Cableway: $166
  • Cairns Adventure Package- 4 tours in 3 days!: $325
  • Cairns Aquarium Admission Ticket: $35
  • Cairns Aquarium Family Tickets: $104
  • Cairns Aquarium General Admission Ticket: $32

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Adelaide $18
    Cairns $11

Sample the Local Flavors in Adelaide

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Adelaide:

  • McLaren Vale and Glenelg Wine Tasting and Sightseeing (Half-day Afternoon): $55
  • Adelaide Highlights, Hahndorf & McLaren Vale Wine Tasting and Sightseeing Tour: $78
  • Adelaide Hills Wine Tour: $81
  • The Lane Vineyard: Panorama Private Wine Tasting Experience: $103
  • From Barossa Valley Food and Wine Tour: $107
  • Barossa Valley Wine Tours - Small Private Groups: $119
  • Barossa Valley Cellar Doors Luxury Wine Tour: $121
  • McLaren Vale Wine Tour by Bike: $126
  • Small-Group Barossa Valley Food and Wine Tour: $126
  • McLaren Vale Luxury Wine Tour: $155
  • McLaren Vale Winery Small Group Tour with Wine Tasting and Lunch: $158
  • Small-Group Full-Day Adelaide Hills and Hahndorf Wine Tour from Adelaide: $158

Sample the Local Flavors in Cairns

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Cairns:

  • Tablelands Food & Wine Tour: $233


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Adelaide and Cairns, we can see that Adelaide is more expensive. And not only is Cairns much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cairns would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cairns and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Adelaide would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Adelaide than you might in Cairns.


When is the best time to visit Adelaide or Cairns?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the southern hemisphere, summer is in January and winter is in July.

Should I visit Adelaide or Cairns in the Summer?

Both Cairns and Adelaide are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities.

In January, Adelaide is generally cooler than Cairns. Temperatures in Adelaide average around 22°C (72°F), and Cairns stays around 29°C (84°F).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Cairns. In January, Adelaide usually receives less rain than Cairns. At this time of the year, Adelaide gets 19 mm (0.7 in) of rain, while Cairns receives 429 mm (16.9 in) of rain.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Adelaide 22°C (72°F) 
    Cairns 29°C (84°F)

Should I visit Adelaide or Cairns in the Autumn?

Both Cairns and Adelaide during the autumn are popular places to visit.

Adelaide is much colder than Cairns in the autumn. The temperature in Adelaide is usually 18°C (64°F) in April, and Cairns stays around 27°C (80°F).

Cairns gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Adelaide usually gets less rain in April than Cairns. Adelaide gets 38 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Cairns receives 273 mm (10.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Adelaide 18°C (64°F) 
    Cairns 27°C (80°F)

Should I visit Adelaide or Cairns in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Adelaide and Cairns.

In the winter, Adelaide is much colder than Cairns. Typically, the winter temperatures in Adelaide in July are around 11°C (52°F), and Cairns is about 23°C (73°F).

In July, Adelaide usually receives more rain than Cairns. At this time of the year, Adelaide gets 67 mm (2.6 in) of rain, while Cairns receives 35 mm (1.4 in) of rain.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Adelaide 11°C (52°F) 
    Cairns 23°C (73°F)

Should I visit Adelaide or Cairns in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Adelaide as well as Cairns.

In October, Adelaide is generally much colder than Cairns. Temperatures in Adelaide average around 16°C (61°F), and Cairns stays around 27°C (80°F).

Adelaide usually gets less rain in October than Cairns. Adelaide gets 37 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Cairns receives 44 mm (1.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Adelaide 16°C (61°F) 
    Cairns 27°C (80°F)

Typical Weather for Cairns and Adelaide

Adelaide Cairns
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 22°C (72°F) 19 mm (0.7 in) 29°C (84°F) 429 mm (16.9 in)
Feb 23°C (73°F) 20 mm (0.8 in) 29°C (83°F) 469 mm (18.5 in)
Mar 21°C (69°F) 22 mm (0.9 in) 28°C (82°F) 471 mm (18.5 in)
Apr 18°C (64°F) 38 mm (1.5 in) 27°C (80°F) 273 mm (10.8 in)
May 15°C (58°F) 57 mm (2.2 in) 25°C (78°F) 118 mm (4.6 in)
Jun 12°C (54°F) 50 mm (2 in) 23°C (74°F) 62 mm (2.5 in)
Jul 11°C (52°F) 67 mm (2.6 in) 23°C (73°F) 35 mm (1.4 in)
Aug 12°C (54°F) 51 mm (2 in) 24°C (75°F) 34 mm (1.3 in)
Sep 13°C (56°F) 40 mm (1.6 in) 25°C (77°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)
Oct 16°C (61°F) 37 mm (1.5 in) 27°C (80°F) 44 mm (1.7 in)
Nov 18°C (65°F) 22 mm (0.9 in) 28°C (82°F) 104 mm (4.1 in)
Dec 21°C (69°F) 25 mm (1 in) 29°C (83°F) 211 mm (8.3 in)


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Adelaide vs. Cairns Travel Comparison

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